“What happens at the Rice Ball stays at the Rice Ball,” cautioned mistress of ceremonies, actress Pam Oei. But it was hard not to disclose what went down at the 18th annual fundraising gala in aid of theatre company Wild Rice when it was attended by icons of ancient and modern history—from Egyptian goddesses and Chinese celestial beings, to Karl Lagerfeld.

Founding artistic director Ivan Heng thanked guests for “Making History”—coincidentally the gala’s theme—with the company and for their generous contributions of $796,500 that evening, which would take Wild Rice to its 20th anniversary next year. Education and outreach is one of the focus areas for Wild Rice in 2020 and it hopes to make theatre more accessible to all through its Gift of Theatre programme, which has benefitted more than 3,000 underprivileged people, thanks to the support of its Wild Rice Angels.

(Related: Photos From The Wild Rice "Out Of This World" Rice Ball 2018)

As is customary of every Rice Ball, guests were entertained by a concert extravaganza directed by Heng and co‑artistic director Glen Goei. The theatre and music show touched upon the history and culture of Singapore, from the real story of Sang Nila Utama to the tales of Samsui women and Nonya matriarchs, among others, showcasing Singapore’s theatre talents. The evening also featured a local‑inspired four‑course menu prepared by chef Heidi Flanagan of Origin Grill as well as chefs Kenjiro ‘Hatch’ Hashida and Janice Wong. 

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